Cracker’s pollution under-reported: environmentalists

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

Thu, May 30, 2013 - Page 4

Environmental activists yesterday presented a petition to the Yunlin County Government, asking that it order Formosa Petrochemical Corp’s sixth naphtha cracker in Mailiao Township (麥寮) to pay a fine for air pollution they suspect was under-reported, before allowing any meetings on its proposed expansion.

The protest came two days before an environmental impact assessment (EIA) meeting to evaluate the expansion project at the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) headquarters in Taipei.

The environmentalists rallied in front of the county government’s office building with their petition, which said they suspected the air pollution levels had been under-reported. They asked the county to provide proof that the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions reported was correct.

The Taiwan Water Resources Protection Union said EPA reports in 2010 and 2011 showed the amount of air pollutant emissions was under-reported by between 2,000 tonnes and 3,000 tonnes, adding that the union’s calculations have shown that the plant’s total annual VOCs emissions have already surpassed the permitted limit of 4,302 tonnes per year.

Chang Shu-fen (張淑芬), a representative of a women’s health group, urged the county government to “toughen up” and insist that the company pay the air pollution fee before it accepts any expansion proposal for the plant. Chang said the county should ask the EPA to reject the proposal for EIA evaluation.

The groups urged the government to publicize the actual data on the plant’s air pollution emissions to protect the public’s health.

Yunlin County Deputy Commissioner Shih Keh-he (施克和) met with the activists and accepted the petition from Yunlin County Shallow Waters Aquaculture Association member Lin Jin-lang (林進郎). Shih agreed to bring up the protesters’ concerns in meetings and to act on them.